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Higashi no Wadatsumi, Nishi no Soukai
<The Sea God in the East, the Vast Sea in the West>

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 1994

 


~ Starting Chapter ~

***

Two days later, Father peered into the boyfs eyes and called him.

gFatherfs got something to do. You want to come with me?h

The boy didnft ask where or why.
gYes, Ifll go.h

gOkay then,h Father wore a somewhat complex expression as he gave his hand to the boy. The boy grabbed the hand tightly. Surrounded by the rough touch of the big hand, the boy left the house, and walked across the vast ruin of the fire. The father and son traveled even deeper into Mt. Kinugasa(ߊ}R), and climbed up and down numerous times, until the father expected the boy didnft remember where they came from. Father let go of the boyfs hand.

gKid, stay here. Ifll be right back. Wait here!h

Okay, the boy nodded.

gYou got it? Donft move an inch!h

Okay, the boy nodded and saw his father going out of the woodland as the father looked back a couple of times.

I will not move. I will always stay here.

The boy tightened his fist, and gazed and the direction where his father disappeared.

I will never return home.

To keep his promise, the boy didnft move a step away from that spot. At night he slept at the spot. When he felt hungry, he plucked grass and dug up roots from where his hands could reach. He quenched his thirst with night dew. After three days, he couldnft move at all even if he wanted to.

Donft worry. I will never return home.

He understood that if he returned, his parents would be troubled.

After the whole city was burnt down, everywhere was covered with corpses. The man who hired Father was killed by some low-ranked soldiers of the West Army. To make the whole family live on without a job and a home, the family must lose all the children, who can only eat but cannot work.

The boy closed his eyes, and let his consciousness sunk into confusion. Before he fell into sleep, he heard noises of a beast walking across the grassland.

Ifll be waiting here.
Ifll wait here for the whole family to live on, to settle down, to be happy, to suddenly remember me, and to come here to hold a funeral for me.

Before that, no matter how long it takes, Ifll wait.

***

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